UK, US wanted to remove Mugabe by force - Mbeki

2016-02-22 18:10
Robert Mugabe (AFP)

Robert Mugabe (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The US and UK so badly wanted President Robert Mugabe removed that South Africa had to send government minister Lindiwe Sisulu to tell them to back off, former president Thabo Mbeki said in his latest letter.

"There were others in the world, led particularly by the UK, who opposed our approach of encouraging the Zimbabweans to decide their future. These preferred regime change – the forcible removal of President Mugabe and his replacement by people approved by the UK and its allies," wrote Mbeki.

"In the period preceding the 2002 Zimbabwe Elections, the UK and the US in particular were very keen to effect this regime change and failing which to impose various conditions to shorten the period of any Mugabe Presidency.

"Our then Minister of Intelligence, Lindiwe Sisulu, had to make a number of trips to London and Washington to engage the UK and US governments on their plans for Zimbabwe, with strict instructions from our government to resist all plans to impose anything on the people of Zimbabwe, including by military means."

Mbeki said the plans to overthrow Mugabe were not hearsay, but came "directly from what they communicated to a representative of our government".

The startling revelations go on to say that on November 11, 2007, the UK's Independent on Sunday reported that during its interview of Lord Guthrie, former Chief of Defence Staff of the UK armed forces, it learnt that "astonishingly, the subjects discussed [with Prime Minister Tony Blair] included invading Zimbabwe". Guthrie had reportedly warned against it.

According to John Kampfner in his book Blair’s Wars, the former British prime minister once told Claire Short that "if it were down to me, I’d do Zimbabwe as well – that is send troops".

Mbeki said that over the years Zapu, Zanu and, later, Zanu-PF saw it as part of their responsibility to contribute to the victory of South Africa's struggle against apartheid and to rebuild the country. The ANC felt the same about removing colonialism in Zimbabwe and helping reconstruct that country.

"Throughout these years we defended the right of the people of Zimbabwe to determine their destiny, including deciding on who should govern the country. This included resisting all efforts to impose other people’s solutions on Zimbabwe, which, if this had succeeded, would have served as a precursor for a similar intervention in our country!"

Mbeki concluded by saying there was a conscious decision taken to avoid South Africa acting as the "new home-grown African imperial power"

When he was president, Mbeki rarely took the nation or the media into his confidence on some of the details in his letters. He was regularly heavily criticised over South Africa's siding with Mugabe, whose land reforms were considered repugnant by many. Mbeki was also criticised for appearing to turn a blind eye to allegations of voting irregularities.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  thabo mbeki  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  politics

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.